Carom Billiard - 3-Cushion - World Cup - Bursa (TUR)
Turkish exodus, only Lütfi Cenet survives
Lütfi Cenet, the only Turkish player left in the Bursa World Cup
BURSA - They were with six at the start of a beautiful first day in the Bursa World Cup. Six Turkish players with a certain reputation, among them two recent winners of a World Cup (Murat Naci Coklu and Tayfun Tasdemir), Semih Saygıner, who is back with a mission and Lütfi Cenet, who lost so unlucky in the previous World Cup in Bursa against Dick Jaspers, the Dutchman who took the final victory one day later. Four rounds and sixteen matches later, after the opening ceremony of the tournament, the balance was made. The proud Turkish president Ersan Ercan could not believe his eyes. Five of six Turks were thrown out of the tournament on the very first day, some with their head held high, some with a vague, unpleasant feeling. Only Lütfi Cenet survived, against Haeng-Jik Kim's attack. The Korean star missed his last carom, Cenet answered with a lucky shot that made him the winner: 40-39 in 31.
The best winners of the opening day were Quoc Nguyen Nguyen in 13 innings, Dick Jaspers and Jae Ho Cho in 14 innings. Dani Sánchez and Heo Jung Han, the world champion and the last World Cup winner, bumped in an exciting match. The Spaniard and the Korean balanced until the end, because Sánchez eventually could equalize with one point. The shootout was breathtaking and exciting: Heo opened with two, Sanchez replied with 2, Heo continued with 3, Sanchez equalized with 3, Heo missed the breakshot, Sánchez triumphed from the spots. That was, in all the misery of the Turkish home players, one of the special moments of the day. Frédéric Caudron and Birol Uymaz also brought the audience on the edge of their seats in the first round. Birol explained later: ,,We arrived together at 30-30, then I made eight and missed my ninth, which was not so difficult at all. I was so close to the finish, but Caudron answered with a perfect final run of ten and won the match.'' The Belgian, who went out in the first rounds in his last two World Cups, this time escaped with a awesome ten to the finish (40-38 in 23).
The match between Lütfi Cenet and Haeng-Jik Kim was another nailbiter. Lutfi, after the match: ,,We were at 36-37, I made two and missed the match ball. Then he made three and missed his last. I made the match ball with a lucky shot.'' The Turk, who scored the best day's run in the first half of the match (13), thus won 40-39 in 31 innings. Both Lütfi Cenet and Birol Uymaz could not explain the painful exodus from the home players. Was it the pressure to play for their home crowd, were the expectations too high? Cenet: ,,They all didn't play so bad, but the opponents were top-level.''
Tayfun Tasdemir couldn't find his rhythm against the Korean qualifier Ji Hun Ahn (40-32 in 31), Semih Saygıner wasn't a shadow of the player he is in his better days against the tight defensively and very strong playing Eddy Merckx: 40-17 in 21. Murat Naci Coklu was good, but not good enough against Seung Jin Lee (40-30 in 20) and Can Capak ran into a formidable Quoc Nguyen Nguyen, who won 40-22 in 13, the best match of the day.
Dick Jaspers had a promising start and was too strong for Kostas Kokkoris (40-14 in 14). The Dutch number one is facing Lütfi Cenet tomorrow, Saturday. They played an unforgettable match last year in Bursa. The Dutchman came back from a hopeless position after Cenet had missed three match balls. He drew from the spots. The first shootout yielded 4-4, in the second set Jaspers escaped 2-1. He continued, found his top form and won the tournament.
Marco Zanetti had a strong comeback in his match against Hyung Kon Kim, but lost his opponent in the final sprint (40-37 in 24) and could only score once in the equalizer. Roland Forthomme sent the revelation of the day before, Juan Jose Garcia, back home with a clear score: 40-30 in 22. Sung-Won Choi took revenge for the loss in his homeland against Myung Woo Cho and defeated the promising star 40-25 in 24.
Torbjörn Blomdahl opposed a remarkably tame Eddy Leppens, he left him no chance to get into the match: 40-30 in 31. Jae Ho Cho had a brilliant start and outplayed Can Capak 40-18 in 14. Jérémy Bury was cool and solid against Ma Minh Cam, an opponent who could not threaten him. Dong Koong Kang narrowly escaped at the end, when Sameh Sidhom missed his last in the equalizer.
Nikos Polychronopoulos had the strongest nerves in the final against Chi Yeon Cho (40-35 in 28).
Besides five Turks, also three wildcard players are already out on the first day: Huberney Cataño, Semih Saygıner and Can Capak. Tomorrow, Saturday, we can hope for a great Belgian clash between Caudron and Forthomme, Jaspers plays against Cenet, Sánchez against Jae Ho Cho and Merckx meets Bury.
The players for the final days at the opening ceremony
The Turkish president Ersan Ercan, laughing with UMB president Farouk Barki at the opening.
The matches for tomorrow:
11.00 (Turkish time):
SJ Lee-Quoc Nguyen
The quarter finals are at 16.00 en 18.00.
The Vietnamese public star Quoc Nguyen Nguyen, best player of the day in 13 innings
The Turks Can Capak and Murat Naci Coklu, both out after one day
Eddy Merckx, a way too strong for Semih Sayginer
Dick Jaspers, strong and solid, tomorrow facing Lütfi Cenet
Frédéric Caudron, tremendous final run against Birol Uymaz
Haeng-Jik Kim, outplayed in the final innings by Lütfi Cenet
Dani Sánchez escaped in the shootouts against Jung-Han Heo
Birol Uymaz, unlucky loss against Caudron
Torbjörn Blomdahl, one of the top five players in the next round
Nikos Polychronopoulos, not in trouble despite a close win
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